It's not easy keeping things fresh 11 seasons in, but NCIS has managed to do just that.
The long-running series' boss Gary Glasberg took part in a Drama Showrunners panel during CBS' day at the 2014 Winter Press Tour on Wednesday, along with the executive producers behind Elementary, Person of Interest and The Good Wife.
During his time on stage, Glasberg defended his recent decision to paralyze Delilah (Margo Harshman), McGee's (Sean Murray) girlfriend on the show, and what her injury will mean for the couple's relationship. Plus, how much of a challenge was it replacing Cote de Pablo, who exited the series after nine years?
"I'm actually proud of that decision, because the intent is to show an individual, a really smart individual, take control of her life and rise up, after what she's been through," Glasberg explained of the Delilah storyline. "That's all the stuff coming up, we're really excited about the arc that character's going to face as someone in a wheelchair and how that's going to be portrayed."
But what will it mean for her future with McGee, who was completely devastated by the news? And is Glasberg at all nervous about handing such a sensitive subject, including a potential breakup between two if it's initiated by McGee.
"That's all stuff we talk about as writers and think is exciting fodder for storylines," he said. "Those are all elements of what we'll portray and hopefully portray properly…If we can stir the pot a little bit, that's great. I hope that we do it justice."
As for losing the series' leading lady, Ziva, earlier in the season, Glasberg admitted, "It was a challenge...to suddenly lose a character who had been a part of the show for nine seasons is signifcant."
Just as significant is finding the right actor and character to step into the void left by Pablo's exit. Enter Emily Wickersham as Bishop.
"I wanted to do something that was different, but not change the chemistry of the mix that makes NCIS work," the showrunner explained of the new addition." Bishop is different, she comes at things differently, she handles herself differently and Emily has brought all kinds of layers to the character. I'm really excited about what she brings to to the table and how it changes things; it opens up all kinds of doors for us."
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.